We are writing to inform you of the progress that has been made on the merger of Granite State College (GSC) and the University of New Hampshire (UNH). We are pleased to report that two critical external milestones have been passed in recent weeks.
- Governor Sununu has signed the legislation (NH HB1218), passed with bipartisan support by both the N.H. State Senate and House of Representatives, that will effectuate the legal merger of our two institutions as of July 1, 2023.
- Our regional accreditor, the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), received, reviewed, and has verbally approved our Substantive Change Request. We expect to receive formal written approval this June. This request was a required part of the merger process that will enable GSC’s accreditation to retire soon after the completed legal merger, and become part of UNH’s accreditation, without interruption or impact to GSC’s programs, faculty and students.
While working closely with our legislative and accreditation partners, we have also endeavored to engage key stakeholders in the merger. This engagement has included a GSC student town hall, a comprehensive briefing and discussion with the UNH Faculty Senate and regular update meetings with the GSC and UNH Manchester faculty and staff communities.
We extend our sincere thanks to every member of the 14 merger working groups—representing the collective efforts of more than 150 members—that contributed to and guided these respective processes to their work to date.
On the academic integration front, we recognize the nearly 80 faculty members from GSC, UNH Manchester and UNH Durham who worked in small subcommittees to review, compare and contrast over 40 GSC and UNH graduate and undergraduate programs. This effort was critical to identifying any issues that might arise once GSC programs are brought into UNH. We are happy to report that, with only a small number of exceptions, the conclusion of the undergraduate and graduate program integration workings groups is that GSC’s programs serve generally distinct student markets or are complementary to UNH programs that serve similar student markets. The undergraduate group has submitted their final report to the Merger Steering Committee and the graduate group’s report will be submitted soon.
The merger working groups’ planning efforts this spring have included the review of academic policies of both institutions in consultation with UNH and GSC academic administration and UNH Faculty Senate’s Agenda Committee, Academic Policy Committee and Academic Affairs Committee. Highlights from the policy review efforts include:
- Academic Calendar: In order to allow students to seamlessly access academic programs and courses across the UNH College of Professional Studies (CPS), upon merging GSC programs will move from a 12-week term structure into alignment with UNH’s semester-based academic calendar. As early as summer 2023, GSC courses will be offered in an 8-week course format, operating as half terms within the UNH standard 16-week fall and spring semesters, plus an 8-week summer term.
- University Catalog: Led by the governance and structure working group, several groups are contributing to a comprehensive review of the UNH and GSC catalogs with the aim of aligning as many academic policies as possible while maintaining policy distinctiveness where it better serves UNH and GSC students, respectively. This work is in its late stages and will result in a unified catalog that respects and clearly portrays the important differences in policy and practice.
Merger efforts will continue in earnest throughout the summer with increased focus on implementation of the planning and analysis outcomes. For example, GSC faculty and instructional designers will begin the work of updating their course maps and Canvas courses to meet the new 8-week course structure. Cross-institutional, cross-functional teams within the merger working groups will be updating the practices, procedures and tools needed to support these new-to-UNH programs and their students.
We greatly appreciate everyone's commitment to the merger and acknowledge the thoughtful analysis and recommendations brought forward by the merger working groups. Thank you, in advance, for the important and considerable effort needed for the next phases of implementation.
James W. Dean, Jr.
Dean of UNH Manchester and GSC
Dean of Online Learning